It’s been two years since Oracle State Park received designation as an International Dark Sky Park, recognizing dark skies as a limited resource needing protection, and the whole park will be celebrating Oracle as an exceptional place for telescope-viewing on Saturday, March 18!
Call for a reservation to join a Beginner Digital Astrophotography Workshop from 2-4 p.m., with volunteer Mike Weasner, for an introduction to taking nighttime astro-photos using any camera alone, or in combination with a tripod or telescope. There will be DOOR PRIZES given out to some lucky workshop participants!
Stick around for Live Music and get some astrophotography playtime during the evening Star Party! No reservation needed to bring your own picnic and enjoy Live Music from 4:30-6:30 p.m., by local favorites, the Oracle Ridge Band. The band will play a dancy ‘Americana’ mix of country rock and blues favorites, featuring mandolin, steel guitar, bass and drums.
Then from 7-9 p.m., Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association will host a Star Party with telescopes and interpretation of night-sky objects. More event details to be announced.
Thanks to Friends of Oracle State Park for music sponsorship. No reservation needed, except for the workshop. Free with park admission.
Oracle State Park is a 4,000-acre wildlife refuge with over 15 miles of trails. Oracle State Park is an International Dark Sky Park, designated in 2014 by the International Dark Sky Association.
The park is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, beginning March 1. Except as noted, programs are free with park admission of $7 per vehicle at the main gate on Mt. Lemmon Rd. in Oracle. Call the park office at (520) 896-2425 to make reservations, if needed. check online at azstateparts.com/oracle/events for up to the day scheduling.
Oracle State Park is located in the northern Catalina highlands, a mere 45-minute drive north of Tucson, along designated scenic corridor route 77, or 2 hours from Phoenix, via peaceful route 79.
SELF-GUIDED TOURS OF THE HISTORIC KANNALLY RANCH HOUSE
Visit the park office/gift-shop and take a self-guided tour through the multi-level Kannally family home. The Mediterranean-Revival Style ranch house built 1929-1933, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Guided Tour of the historic Kannally Ranch House begins at 11 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday, for the drop-in public. 45-minute duration. Alternate times may be added by reservation.
SUNDAY, MARCH 12: “CRAIG’S BIG YEAR”. SURVEY OF 25 ARIZONA IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS (IBAS)
Learn about these unique and beautiful habitats and the birds that inhabit them. Join Presenter, Craig Anderson, in the living room of the Kannally Ranch House for a program beginning at 1 p.m. for one hour. Craig is an Audubon Arizona IBA Volunteer. He has birded Arizona for 46 years, participated in numerous Christmas Bird Counts and is recognized as a skilled and knowledgeable Field Trip Leader. Please call for a reservation; free with park admission.
SUNDAY, MARCH 19: BIGHORN BASICS, 1 P.M.
Join Arizona State Parks volunteer, Richard Boyer, at the Kannally Ranch House for a 35-minute talk to learn more about bighorn sheep. What are they? Where have they been? Where are they now? Many of the tools we use can be compared to the tools the Bighorn Sheep use to survive in mountainous areas of Arizona. For several years, Richard presented this Bighorn Basics program at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado where he retired as a seasonal National Park Service Ranger. Free with park admission. Reservation preferred.
SATURDAY MARCH 25: BUGS OF AMERICA, NOON TO 4 P.M.
Learn more about the world of bugs with Shane Burchfield out of Portal, AZ. He’ll start with a formal talk, and stick around for an interactive opportunity with visitors. This Entomology Education Program can answer all your questions about Arizona’s wildlife and in particular, its native invertebrates. Get close to his collection of live centipedes, scorpions, tarantulas and more. Thanks to Friends of Oracle State Park for sponsoring this program. No reservation needed; free with park admission.
SATURDAY, APRIL 1: BIRDING PROGRAM, WITH KATHE ANDERSON
Event begins at 4 p.m. in the Kannally Ranch House living room with a one hour presentation, “Temporary Custody of a Rainbow”. Learn the backstory of ten colorful migrants, such as the yellow warbler, blue grosbeak, summer tanager, and others. The talk will be followed by a 90 minute bird walk outside, ending about 6:45 p.m. Bring a snack and wrap up about 7:15 p.m. with a bird list while watching the sunset from the patio. Free with park entrance fee; reservation suggested.
SUNDAY, APRIL 2: BIRDING AND BREAKFAST
Kathe Anderson returns to offer an early morning guided bird walk at the park, beginning at 7 a.m. Following the two hour walk, participants will be treated to a special breakfast offering on the patio of the Kannally Ranch House, courtesy of the Friends of Oracle State Park. The group will review the morning sightings while enjoying coffee, treats and great views. $10 includes the park entrance fee. Reservation required, please call.